Traveling Europe // Stranded in Ireland

Read Pt. 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 //

After getting settled into our hostel in Dingle, Ireland, we learned that it would be one to two days until our replacement key would arrive. The question was, how were we going to spend that time? Without any money (or anything except the clothes on my back and my camera), there weren't a whole lot of options. So, it looked like a long day of walking and exploring was on the agenda - which luckily is one of my favorite things to do.

Dingle is filled with fun little shops, an aquarium, and some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. After a morning filled with window shopping, museum wandering, and a turn around their local cathedral, I decided to take the two mile walk out to the lighthouse. It was one of the best ways to unwind after a stressful night and one of the most beautiful walks I have ever taken.

There couldn't have been a more picturesque and European way to spend my afternoon. Walking through pastures filled with cows, past ancient ruins, and watching the tour boats go in and out as the local dolphin - Fungi - jumped in and out of the water. I even met a fellow American along the way and we walked together to the lighthouse. She even took pictures of me with her phone then text them to me so I'd have them if and when I was reunited with my own phone.

I found this plaque of the 2002 Winter Olympics to be heartwarming. Since I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, it felt like a little sign that even though I was far from home, everything would be just fine.

After my walk, I found a lone book at the hostel and spent my evening reading the entire thing and snacking (ravenously eating, I should say) on biscuits and water. But the next morning, the rental car key arrived and my friend and I were able to get a lift back to up the mountain to our car and continue on our European adventure.

Even though this setback seemed completely devastating at first... Ultimately it was a great way to slow down and see the west coast of Ireland on a deeper level. Plus, all of our belongings were completely in tact and untouched when we made it back to our car - which was a huge blessing!


The Gift of Time

The other day, Scout and I met up with our bff's Lauren and her little family at the cutest Christmas tree lot. While neither Lauren nor I actually needed a tree, we couldn't help but fall in love with a couple Charlie Brown style trees that would make our Christmas decor perfect. Of course, neither of us bought one, but we had a great time browsing, taking pictures, and fighting with an overly excited puppy and a distraught baby (puppy is mine, baby is Lauren's).

I love how these Christmas tree lot pictures turned out - lots of shadows to match the dark face of my new Classic Black Daniel Wellington watch. This watch has not left my arm except for sleeping and showers since it arrived. It is so stunning and classy, it is the perfect watch to accessorize all of my holiday looks, especially when paired with my Daniel Wellington Cuff! If you're still looking for that perfect Christmas gift to place under your tree, be sure to use my discount to receive 15% off! Code: GENTRILEE

watch and cuff - c/o daniel wellington
shirt - zara
leggings - eddie bauer
boots - nordstrom
bangle - color by amber

Do you use real or fake Christmas trees? I'm thinking maybe I'll go back and grab one of those little trees for myself...

Remember to use my code, GENTRILEE, to receive 15% off your Daniel Wellington order!


Mint Hot Chocolate Recipe

Here in Utah, winter has set in completely and I am already dreaming of warmer weather. I just get so cold so easily these days and it really makes the winters difficult. However, I've learned some tricks about staying warm and I have to say, the best way to warm up is from the inside out.

This mint hot chocolate recipe is so delicious! It is extra creamy and flavorful and warms me up from the inside out. But best of all, I can stick this drink in my Thermos Brand bottle and hit the road feeling nice and toasty - no matter what the weather outside is doing - because my Thermos Brand bottle will keep my hot drinks hot!

1 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
3/4 cup Mint Chocolate
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
Non-Dairy Whipped Cream

Place the coconut milk and cocoa powder in a sauce pan and whisk together. Once blended, add the mint chocolate and place the pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and ingredients are blended completely. Keep on the heat and stir occasionally until it reaches desired temperature (I don't like my hot chocolate too hot because it burns my tongue...). Pour the mixture into your Thermos Brand tumbler and top with whipped cream and chopped up mint chocolates.

This Thermos Brand bottle is so sleek and classy, making it perfect for any situation - from the office to the mountains. And of course, in good Thermos Brand fashion, it is insulated to keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot - a must for anyone who is always on the go, like me.

Be sure to check out the Thermos Brand Facebook Page for a giveaway where you could win your own Thermos Brand products! Thermos Brand will be offering a limited time promotion that gives readers the chance to enter to win Genuine Thermos® Brand products through a promotion that is hosted on the Thermos brand Facebook page.  There will be a total of 10 randomly selected winners for the promotion. Thermos brand and Spong will be facilitating the shipments.


Traveling Europe // The Curse of the Leprechauns

Read Pt. 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

The original plan on our fourth day in Europe was to spend the morning exploring Dingle, Ireland, then head up towards the Cliffs of Moher. However, sometimes fate has other plans...

After the tour around the Irish coastline, we climbed back into the car to head towards northern Ireland. We couldn't help but stop here and there along the way to snap some pictures of the incredible Irish countryside. The road to Dingle is quite treacherous and at one point, as the road wraps up around a mountainside, it narrows to allow only one car to pass at a time. It was nerve-wracking, but we seemed to make it through the worst part and were headed towards our destination when we decided to make one more stop.

There was a particularly pretty spot where other adventurers had stopped to go for what looked to be a short hike. The parking area was next to a small waterfall, so I knew that there must be something even better at the top. I decided to leave all of my belongings - except my camera - in the car so I could fully enjoy this experience, and then excitedly hiked up the mountainside. As I reached the top, my eyes were greeted with a magical sight as a dark and mysterious lake, surrounded by fog that rolled over the mountain's peak, came into view. I climbed up to a spot where I could be alone and just sat for a while, soaking it all in.

I spent as much time on top of that mountain as I could before I knew we needed to hit the road again, and as I climbed back down I stumbled across a beautiful crystal. It was quite large and I felt like it would make a great souvenir, so I put it in my pocket - happy with my small discovery. I then met my friend and we climbed back down the mountainside to our car. However, when we reached the vehicle, my friend could not find our key.

In a panic I started back up the mountain, scanning every rock, bush, and mud pile I could. I was completely determined to find that key - I knew how expensive it would be to replace and was terrified as to what would happen if we didn't find it. As we searched, it started to rain (of course, right?), and I started to reach my wits end. I knelt on the mountainside, praying for help and guidance, but not feeling any direction. I cried as I was on my hands and knees - reaching into crevices in the rocks and digging through the bushes. After an hour of dedicated searching, I stood up - soaked to the bone - took my souvenir crystal out of my pocket and said to myself "This place, this crystal, they must be magical. That is the only explanation!"

I had looked everywhere, I couldn't imagine where the key could be. At that point, my sanity settled on the conclusion that the crystal I had taken belonged to Leprechauns, and since I took their crystal, they must have taken our key. So as tears welled up in my eyes, I placed the crystal back onto the soft earth, asked them to please return our key, and began my search once again...

Now, I never found that key, nor did my friend. But what we did find was the amazing family in the picture below. They wouldn't leave that mountain without us. They drove us back to Dingle, made sure we found a place to stay, and let my friend charge her phone with their charger.

Of course, I was still distraught, as was my friend. But their help and kindness eased our burden of being stranded in a foreign country, and I will forever be grateful for them!

We were able to find a hostel for just $17 per night, so after grabbing some toothbrushes, toothpaste, and apples at the local market, we walked over to check into our room. Since all of our belongings were in the car on top of a mountain, we had to wash what clothes we had in the sink with hand soap and sleep wrapped up in our towels while they hung to dry. But we were able to shower, sleep in warm beds, and contact our families. So even though the situation seemed bleak, we were truly being taken care of... No thanks to the leprechauns.
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